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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  September 20, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT

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prosperity, a group because the conservative alternative to aarp. then we have the latest fund- raising numbers in the midterm elections with the executive director of the center for responsive politics. "washington journal" is next.
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host: it allows illegal immigrants who served in the military. senators will also take up the issue of don't ask don't tell later in the week. go to to find out more about our coverage. we want to get your thoughts on the epa proposed smog will's. -- rules. the epa says that it could save 12,000 lives per year and save money by reducing spending. what do you think this morning? it is a return to weigh in on the topic. if you are for it, 202-737-0001. if you are opposed, 202-737- 0002.
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here is the story from "the wall street journal."
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host: next to this story is a chart this morning, showing that if you look at 2006 and 2008 bear quality levels, but the
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counties that had ozone monitors, roughly 96% would violate the most stringent standards, what the epa is looking to do on this issue. do you support this idea? if you do, 202-737-0001. are you opposed? if you are, 202-737-0002. you can also discuss on our twitter page, spanwj. you can also send us an e-mail as well to a little bit more from this "the wall street journal" article.
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host: union county, south carolina. good morning, daryl. what you think of these new epa imposed smog rules? caller: it is time to start putting the health and the lives of people above the money. and it is just something that it is never a good time for any kind of support to come for these kinds of changes that we need to clean up our environment.
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host: all right, let me ask you this, please turn down your television so that we do not get that feed back. but let me ask you, in the article the officials have put on hold plans for a new traffic intersection, saying that the south carolina officials concluded it would more than double the costs by requiring it to be built in a clover leaf shape to reduce traffic jams and pollution levels, limiting growth. what do you think about that? this is in south carolina, your own state.
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caller: to me, these are excuses that they come up with to not make the changes that need to be made. we need to make these changes, we need to start now with our environment in the long run so that it will not hurt our economy. host: in the short term, is it ok to put potential construction jobs on hold because of this proposed ruling it looks like in south carolina they would not build the intersection because there were looking at this rule coming down. many people saying that jobs of the most important thing right now. what do you think of that?
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caller: i think that the people that are opposed to this are coming up with excuses. this state seems to be very conservative and opposed to these changes, but you can reckon that from the article it was mostly a public -- republican decision on this. reading between the lines, this is just a political way of putting some people in opposition to it. i do not know that it will that impact jobs as much as it says it in the article. host: the article does make note that some democrats do not like this idea, such as those that are facing difficult reelection in november.
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joe host: caught one, arizona. you are opposed to this idea? why? caller: this is just cap and trade. now the epa has the power to do this. i believe that courts give them the power. this will be a mess. all of us will pay higher utility bills. fuel prices will be going out. we have democrats and all of these people talking about and jobs going overseas, the epa has
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destroyed this country in my book. host: what do have to say to the notion that it will save the u.s. $100 billion annually in health-care costs? caller: they do not have proof. there are a lot of studies out there saying that that is just a bunch of malarkey. reassigned his right now but said that if we shut everything down we would have to live like the tribes of south america. for 30 years it would only change the temperature of this country's 0.1% centigrade. this is ridiculous. all of this global warming stuff is destroying this country. we need jobs. china is making everything and we are buying it from china.
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we do not have manufacturing jobs because of this. host: we will move over to bob, who supports this idea in columbus, ohio caller: i support it. i never saw anything so ridiculous as changing the cloverleaf of the road. why nudges drive cars that do not pollute? -- why not just drive cars that cannot police? i do not particularly care to believe some other businesses fell heir. i grew up in cleveland and they damaged the lake, using it as a sewer. host: what is difference between columbus and cleveland? caller: 2.5 hours. host: when it comes to their
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quality? caller: we are fouling the air everywhere. if the air came over from china , we would have to try to stop that. talking about centigrade? who talks like that? he is just reading straight from something. host: going to cleveland, donald is opposed to this. good morning. caller: it seems to me that much of the conversation has been regarding just the surface of this issue. what i mean by that is what i have read, documents out of different think tanks, like the deindustrialization of america
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from the 1970's, showing a clear move in that direction. if you look at the evidence, it is clear that that action has taken place. second, i would like to point out that i do not understand how the smog levels are so dangerous when in fact much of the industry of the united states has been moved. it seems as though the epa is actually a body that is working very much against the united states and in league with the united nations. maybe this sounds crazy to you, but look around, our jobs are gone, the economy is wasting away, and they're still trying to put things under this new green religion. global warming, they walk around saying that the science is sound but 40,000 meteorologist and
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scientists were signing petitions to show that the science was absolutely based on collaborate. but the media has spun it as the science that is in. american people that want to do the right thing. host: a little bit more from "the wall street journal" this morning.
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host: plaza, north dakota. do you support this idea? caller: i support it. but only for 1500 pennsylvania ave. leave dakota out of it. host: why do you say that? caller: we do not mean higher electric bills and there is no smog in north dakota. if they want to do something, just to a statewide. there is a lot of pollution in washington, d.c. nowadays. host: keep it to the urban areas? caller: exactly. if these states are so worried about pollution, leave it up to the states. it is a beautiful state appear.
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we do not have these high paying jobs, i am on this ability and cannot support this electric stuff. host: what are your energy bills like in north dakota? north dakota has done well because of the jobs in that industry. what are your average electric bills? caller: i will tell you what, i have a electric heat and the only way that i can afford it, this is a cool area, gas's $2 a gallon. the government found out and decided they needed more money. think outside the box sometimes, you know? that is what these politicians
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need to do. host: we will move on to frank in beverly, a new trustee. caller: i love this idea of -- beverly, new jersey. caller: 5 of this idea. host: we are listening. caller: all of this scientific information is nothing but. as long as the earth has sat here, the earth has gone through cycles of warming and cooling. as far back as we can go, the ozone has been on this planet for millions of years. i do not know where they get this idea, especially about the causes. cars these days barely make any emissions at all.
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the gentleman a few callers before me said exactly right. -- said it exactly right. there is no industry in this country anymore. why do we need to make the standard harder to me to with fuel, heating oil, and electric? i do not get why they are trying to destroy the country in the economy. i will hang out. host: this e-mail from one of our viewers -- host: redding, california, you support the idea? caller: i feel that the world needs to be a better environment for everyone to brief, for water
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to be fresh. our businesses have gone overseas so that they do not have to have been epa. -- do not have to have an epa. i feel that we need to make it a cold frame -- global fame -- global thing. host: we talked about this at the top of the show, war chest crammed as records smashed for gop. republicans have the edge, a reversal from a few years ago when democratic candidate to head out-raised republicans. the flood of money will fuel the
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get-out-the-vote efforts in the coming weeks as the gop tries to capture 39 seats in the house, wresting power from democrats. near the 79% of the advertising occurred in the last 30 days of the campaign. it will be coast-to-coast, wall- to-wall politics on your radio this fall. party committees and outside groups have spent $99 million on television advertisements since the start of 2009 compared to $63 million for democratic parties and groups. in our last hour we will be talking about independent groups and how much they're spending on this campaign cycle as well as the rules that regulate exposure. the latest poll in that florida senate race --
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host: that is the florida senate race. from the politics section of "the washington post," and nancy pelosi as a liability is probably the headline you have seen lately. host: also this morning, health care news, the couple of stories about what republicans
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would do if they took over with health care. "politico" has this -- host: the headline on this from "the washington post" is that the gop plan to replace the wall is on clear -- replaced the law is unclear. host: we are talking about the
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epa proposed smog rules, they came out earlier this year and the said jackson will decide on those new rules by the end of the jig and lisa jackson will decide on those new rules friday -- and lee said jackson will decide on those new rules by the end of october. the epa says that these new rules could potentially save lives and save the government the cost of $100 billion annually. save $100 billion because of those health care costs that are related to smog. marysville, you oppose this? caller: because i cannot afford to have my energy bill go any higher. i draw up a small social security check.
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they were supposed to give us a stimulus, but the lady will not give it to me. so, i have a hard time paying for electric. host: rosy, you support the idea, why is that? caller: because there are so many people with chronic diseases and it is hard for them to breathe. i saw it earlier this year, china had all of that smog and you could see it through the clouds. host: do you know anyone with smog related diseases? caller: no, but i do know a lot of people where it is hard for them to greet. host: more on what epa is proposing, they want to -- host: that means it would come
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down from where it is currently. host: phenix city, alabama. you're opposed to or you support the idea? you are on the air. support of or opposed? caller: [unintelligible] host: why is that? caller: we need to help the american people with the economy. host: i am sorry, we need to move on, you are breaking up and it is hard to hear you. john, good morning. caller: my parents grew up during world war ii, and i know that they call that the
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greatest generation. the ration food today, but if -- they rationed food back then, but if you tried to do that today people with pierce and moment in the streets. -- piss and moan in the streets. host: next caller. north carolina. caller: this is simply lining the pockets of energy companies. why are they trying to tell us how to do this stuff when what they need to go ahead and do is to it. no one has any way to monitor all of these parts per whenever or do anything about it. i think that if the government wanted to fix the problem, they would just involve everyone. but it seems like they just sit there and do their thing and do not even let us participate, we
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are just strung along for another day. host: we will go back to your phone calls on this topic, but the front page story from "the new york times" is --
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host: in the article that talks about what president obama plans to do. "so far he has largely limited campaigning to fund raisers and small events, but that will change soon."
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host: new jersey, your opposed to these small rules. why is that? -- opposed to these smaland smod rules. why is that? caller: if they had excluded the people like myself who pay our bills on time, we have bad credit scores because we do not make enough in terms of income, we are not available for the programs. if they had made it where the auto dealerships have made the standard lower on a case by case basis going by the financial situation of people like myself, who pay their bills on time and made the cars affordable, even
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if the payment plans were over a longer period of time they could have gotten a lot more cars off the road, much more environmentally friendly cars on the road. simply changing traffic signals is not going to change the way that smog runs in america. we need a solar based system and we need to give tax credits for it. not just small ones, give one directly to the person doing it for changing over to solar. instead of paying them a monthly amount. host: you and others may be interested in this editorial on the cash for clunkers program from "the wall street journal." "it did have no long run effect on purchases, helping sales
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initially, but then hurting the sales later in the year." bethesda, md., you support the idea? caller: i think that we have the opportunity to leave and we should go with that. host: oklahoma, you are opposed? caller: good morning. thank you for the programming. i enjoy it. i think this is a bad time to impose stricter rules, especially, as you said, they recently increased the requirements and the economy is so bad right now, it is not a good time to pummel business with more restrictions. although i am very much in favor of increasing standards over
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time, it feels like they are jumping the gun right now. host: so, you would like some limits on pollution in the future, but not right now? caller: earlier you said that the level was recently brought down to 75. host: right. caller: anything that we are doing out now is all over the world, where they do not have these standards and it is a terrible time to increase the stress on businesses. that is one of the reasons these businesses are moving overseas. host: de think that other countries might follow us if we were to lower the standards? or increase the standards, i
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guess? caller: we are already a leader, but we cannot shoot ourselves in the flood. we are currently in bad straits in terms of manufacturing and fostering business in this country. we need to do something about the economy. host: betty, you support the idea. why is that? caller: smog is why a lot of people have bronchitis and emphysema. that stuff to come over here from china and everywhere else. people that are mostly republicans that do not believe in the epa, they want to eliminate the epa, they do not care. host: all right, thank you.
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two new pieces in "the new yorker" this week -- host: also in that is a piece called "back to the 1970's."
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host: fox river grove, ill.. you are opposed to this idea? why is that? caller: i will tell you, if the epa wants to go after someone, why not go after the airline companies that allow these chemicals to be sprayed into our atmosphere by the time almost every day. look up, america. and if there are 30 million eve legal aliens -- 30 million all legal aliens driving around out there -- 30 million a legal --
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illegal aliens driving around out there, china does run even care. they just pushed all kinds of garbage into the atmosphere. we are breeding the chinese air that they were polluting yesterday. what good will of all do? lookup, america. jets are spraying barium and aluminum all over everything. you cannot even see the sky. host: vivian, san francisco. you support it? caller: a quick comment on the financial thing, as far as those problems that we are in, it is easy to look at the government because you can see them on television all the time, but many of the problems we have our because of the irresponsible
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behavior of wall street. but the other thing i was talking about was there was a man that was on who was talking about the planet going through cold and hot cycles. that was his counter argument to whether scientists know what they're talking about when it comes to global warming. i want to say, on behalf of scientists, that those guys know that. they know that the planet goes to a cyclical cold and hot cycle and the reason they are concerned is that this cycle is not the normal one. something other than the natural process is going on. that is why they are concerned. host: a look at the week ahead in the senate. we told you about the dream act, which would allow the legal -- illegal immigrants to attain
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citizenship through the military. it says that -- "taken the other, the events of the week could make it tougher. host: on the economy, the federal reserve will be meeting tomorrow to see what the fed might do next. newark, you are our last phone call. you are opposed? caller: in the 1990's they found that the different cars that did not have emissions, at one time they used to be leased.
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before that they found a place where they would take leased cars and crush them due to the fact that they did not want the electric cars out there. plessey is after our finances on disability and stuff. my brother -- plus he is after our finances on disability and stuff. my brother and i are on disability and they just want to take more and more of our money. host: coming up next we are switching topic to look at the growing income inequality discrepancy in the united states. more on that, next. we will be right back. host: the cs? local content vehicle is traveling -- >> the c-span local content vehicle is traveling the country as the midterm
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elections ramp up. [drums] >> we have two candidates for the house, they are well known. the first is john [unintelligible] [applause] >> [inaudible] there are those of us who love it and i have seen the faces. we do not have the amenities of a large city, like charlotte. >> he is one of only two
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democrats serving in south carolina. the other is jim cliburn. a huge pickup opportunity for republicans, he has to chair the budget committee. he is one of the key people in the house and is one of the top democrats on the armed services committee. with his leadership he has been a high-profile congressmen and it would be a considerable blow to democrats to lose him. he has been in congress for 28 years. he is the longest serving congressman in south carolina, chairman of the budget committee, the second-highest ranking democrat on the armed services committee. he has a reputation for being a budget move in the house and one of his signature achievements was his helping senator clinton
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pass the balanced budget agreement in 1997. his most serious challenge came in 1994, leading by four. with a challenge coming in again in 1986, he won with 57% of the vote and has not had a serious challenger. >> we went to lunch that was billed as republican club. i spoke to 65 people at a republican club in the ships will. -- bishopsville. >> this year senator mulvanni
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decided to challenge him. he saw the level of concern that people have about health care reform and said that he decided he needed to run for congress to explain the vote on health care. living on indian land, in the northern section of the outskirts of charlotte, he got a degree of ball from chapel hill and then decided to go into business -- he got a law degree from chapel hill and then decided to go into business. now he served in the state senate and is running for congress. when he got into the race he said he wanted to focus on
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particular issues, like health care reform, cap and trade, and the stimulus package. a stimulus -- simple campaign based on his opposition to those initiatives. healthcare has been the most high-profile issue. he contends that the issue -- at the district is not want to reform delivered by congress. congress helped to pass it through the budget committee and has had to defend it every step of the way. the fifth district stretches across the upper portion of south carolina, divided into three regions. the charlotte suburbs in the northern half of the district, of moving york county. the midland region, closer to colombia in the center of the state, and then you have a much more rural and agricultural
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region. the congressman likes to call with a three ring circus. you need to keep the mission is going in all three parts of the district. the fifth district has been hard by the economic downturn. they once relied on the textile industry, they were huge employers in every part of the district. textiles with the faded away in the 1980's and 1990's, but many parts of the district are still trying to make transition away from a textile based economy. the economic downturn did not make that any easier. south carolina is one of the most conservative states in the country. this district still leans conservative. somewhat of an anomaly, a democrat in this very
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conservative state, he has maintained a brand of being very independent-minded, conscious of the budget and spending discipline. that will really be tested in this race. many people are very upset about health care reform, the bank bailouts, and the stimulus package and what they see as reckless government spending. we have covered several tea party rallies outside of his office and we have not seen that level of emotion. that is what the congressman has to contend with as he seeks his 15th term. >> c-span's local content vehicles are traveling the country, looking at some of the most closely contested house races leading up to the midterm elections. for more information on what they're up to this election
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season, visit our website, c- >> "washington journal" continues. host: the book is called "winner-take-all politics: how washington made the rich richer and turned it back on the middle-class." one of the authors, paul pierson, joins us this morning to talk about the book. but stock about that title. guest: our argument is not that voters changed their minds on these issues, but there was a big change in the balance of power beginning in the 1970's, there are tremendous changes in the distribution of income in the u.s.. jimmy carter, that was an interesting time, democrats would have complete control of
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washington. he would not think that the shift would take place, but there is a tremendous mobilization at the beginning of the 1970's and by the end of the 1970's it was a much more conservative agenda the focused on tax cuts with income distribution that is already under way. host: how did washington turn its back on the middle-class? guest: in a bunch of different pieces. that is one of the first things we try to demonstrate in the book. it was not simply a natural economic development, the economy was growing but that was because of technology and forces like that. we stress that if you look at other affluent, successful economies, they have not seen anything similar to that shift
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in terms of technology and a more open in global economy. policy had played a big role in some parts of that story are well known, although not the magnitude as financial deregulation is a huge part of it. the tax cuts that have been dramatic over a sustained period of time, people at the top within the top 100%. we also argue that washington essentially stood by while many folks got non in the private economy with income distribution with a serious push against organized labor, which is the only real organized voice for the economic concerns of middle america, changing the government's resulting in skyrocketing pay. host: what makes the obama administration different?
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or are they falling into the same trap? guest: they are fundamentally different, but there are problems that had been building up over 30 years. some of the parties have been much more supportive, which is not surprising, more supportive of these kinds of economic changes. democrats have often gone a long, however, and sometimes financial regulation in particular, like when bill clinton was president, the obama administration had taken important steps in the discussion over taxes in a different direction but every step of the way it was difficult. there was a lot of organized opposition to anything that pushed back. host: inside of the book is a chart about the richest 1% in
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their income. because of during the carter administration, goes back down during the reagan and bush years, and then goes up again during the clinton years. what happens here that it goes down? host: -- guest: it tends to be that if there is a recession, in the short run it tends to result in the fall of some capital income at the very tough. but the general sense is that by the end of the reagan years it is significantly higher than it was before. the main thing that we would take away from the trend is that it is aids and zags but under republican and democratic presidents, the trend has moved steve lee of ford's with dramatic changes that deserve
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emphasis. it used to be that economic growth was broadly shared in the united states. everyone's growth was going up. everyone was seeing a significant growth of income over time. but in the last 30 years, almost 35% of all income growth in the u.s. has gone to the top 1% of the population, more than the income growth experienced by the bottom 90% of the population. the gains for those of the top had been even more dramatic. it has simply been much more concentrated fruits of growth. host: the average household after-tax income from 1979 to 1986, for the top 1% it has risen dramatically by 206% from
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1979 through 2006. what data are you looking at here? guest of data from the congressional budget office. not just income, but after taxes as well. again, the gains for the top 1%, there you are starting at the top of the group. if you move further up the ladder to the people in the top 10 of the 1%, people making that income share has quadrupled. their income has grown sixfold. the higher they are in this that it -- stratosphere, the more staggering the income. host: the people that argue for
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these bush tax cuts argue that these are the people that produce jobs. that they reinvest that money and invest in new companies that turn around to hire people. why not give them tax cuts? guest: if it were free to do so, that might be reasonable. but the estimate of the tax cut at the top over the $150 billion for 10 years, recently the congressional budget office looked at a range of initiatives we might take to try to push job growth, which everyone agrees is important. the idea of tax cuts was placed last. there are always arguments out there for why new want to emphasize tax cuts for the wealthiest americans when there is a surplus they want to cut
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the taxes, when there is a deficit that want to cut the taxes. one of my favorite lines is when tom delay said that at the beginning of the iraq war, nothing is more important at a time of war than cutting taxes. there is always an argument out there. the huge amount of money is what we're talking about in terms of these tax cuts and if we are really interested in using that money to create jobs, there are many more efficient ways. host: than what is the impact of the growing inequality in income? guest: there is a lot of impact and it is something that social scientists scholars are just now starting to grapple with in terms of realizing the facts. someone argue that the rising inequality itself was a contributing factor to the
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economic crisis that we have experienced over the last few years. excessive borrowing has fuelled the bubble. j. -- jacob patrick and i would probably view financial regulation as having removed the sensible restrictions on wall street to avoid risk-taking and leverage, which contributed to the downturn. the other argument that we stress is that it is not healthy for democracy to have a such a tremendous shift. host: why not? guest: i would say to washington, based on what is going on right now with tax cut discussions, that there are many people hurting out there because of the current economic circumstances. stunningly, i thought the senate minority leader in the florida
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senate the other day that was opposed to state tax cuts because these were the groups that with the most hurt by the economic downturn, his staff quickly clarified his comments, but it was really revealing how he was talking about how millionaires and multi- millionaires were the most hurt by the current recession. it tells you something about that disconnect between the priorities between those that have clout in washington and concern for the country. host: paul pierson is our guest, the author of this book, "winner-take-all politics." we have a twitter from a viewer -- guest: know. anytime anyone talked about the growth of inequality, they get
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confused with being some kind of radical. all that we are trying to say is that the economic system that existed from the 1940's through the 1970's, which i do not think anyone would mistake, was a system in which economic growth was broadly shared and the political system tried to make sure that the rules of the road of the market economy were reasonably fair and that people with access and clout did not get to write the rules. i do not think that there's anything marxist or radical about that. the radical changes taking place are the ways in which we broadly terror in this society with an economy that created opportunities for people to move up, one where the game is
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extremely concentrated at the top. host: another person sent a twitter about rolling back the size of government. guest: if i size of government, do they mean the size in context? there are so many different aspects. we do not think that the primary problem, with respect to these disturbing trends, is so much about the size as it is about the pattern. again, people should realize at the same time that the wealthiest americans have been getting far more wealthy and that the percentage that they pay in taxes in terms of income has gone down dramatically. even if they are making more, the rates they have been paying have been less and less. going back to the rates that
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were in place under bill clinton, they were talking about undoing the most recent and most extensive tax cuts. host: phone calls, sterling, va., good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to thank you for writing a book. the biggest disparity i have seen has been the cost of energy where 37 years ago, 5 gallons of gas is what you got for the minimum wage. today you can only get maybe 2 gallons. this has had a tremendous effect on the lower wage earners, as they are using a disproportionately larger share of income for energy costs. that is the biggest hit, being a low wage earner, it is what i have run across. about the tax cuts for the wealthy, the arguments that i hear against that of the same
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ones i hear when clinton did tax cuts -- i mean started taxing the wealthy more. he was successful. i do not understand, i do not know, thank you for your time. . if congress had gotten around to keeping minimum wage in line
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with inflation, which they have not done over a 30-year period, then some of the difficulties at the bottom would be diminished. i completely agree with the caller about the fact that there always seems to be an argument on there for why it's important to focus on tax cuts at the very top of the top end. right now, the argument that everybody is making is, well, we don't want to do anything to hurt small businesses. but if that were really what one is concerned about, there are many, many ways that you can encourage job hiring by small businesses at a much smaller cost. at a much smaller cost than the huge cost that would be associated with expanding these tax cuts. i talked with my co-author yesterday, it's as many you decided you wanted to fill your bathtub, and the way you chose to do that was turning on your bathroom sink full blast. you might eventually get water in the bathtub, but there are were more effective -- that's
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really what you're trying to do, as opposed to just continuing this very generous tax treatment for people with top incomes. there are much more effective ways to do it than by simply expanding these tax cuts. host: we'll go to detroit. tim on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning to you and your guest. i wonder if you could comment on this. i can't recall the book i read years ago, but people talk about the founding fathers. our country was founded, they pretty much had the european system which was a monarchy, and the founding fathers decided to -- that they wouldn't allow the wealthy to pass on their inharntance, or they made it difficult because this created a class of people that really didn't do anything. they passed on the wealth, and they created these people -- they didn't really contribute to society. and that was the original goal, because that would make people productive. you know, this was an egalitarian society, and people
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would progress and do well on their own merits. but it seems like the wealthy, they forget that, oh, i don't know when that changed, but it definitely changed, so now they can pass on all the money, you know, create kids -- i'm sure some of their kids are productive, but warren buffett said he wanted to give all of his money away. i'd like to you comment on that. also, the disparity of wealth, i asked what it creates. i would say ask marie antoine the, the total policy of ignoring other people in society. host: ok. guest: well, i think it is really important to take a long, historical view on this, and the founders, they clearly did not want hereditary aristocracy, and they thought one of the great advantages the united states had was land was incredibly plentyful, so people had a chance to go out and get their own land and establish
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themselves economically. and at a time when we were largely an egrarian society, that, combined with democratic institutions, was a pretty good way to make sure that you didn't create such an incredible concentration of wealth and political power. but, of course, we don't live in that kind of economy anymore. and so the trend in recent years really has been dramatically in the other direction. one way we talked about in the book -- and again, i think many people just think this is just a natural turn in the economy, but it hasn't been the same story in most affluent democracies. 30 years ago, the united states was a recognizable member of the club of sort of rich, mixed economies in which economic growth was widely shared, and, you know, there were rich and there were poor, but they weren't so far apart, and the middle class was right in the middle. and over the last 30 years, we've been turning more towards the group of countries that we
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usually think of as oligarchies. host: which countries would you hold up as the standard of government that hasn't eroded, that hasn't taken away its citizens' income? guest: well, if you look at the membership of the organization for economic cooperation and development, which is basically the club of rich democracies that extended a little bit beyond that since then, so, you know, all of europe, canada, australia, japan, very, very few of these countries have experienced -- a lot of them have seen some increase in inequality, though some of them have seen none at all, probably because government has pushed back against some of the economic trends rather than reinforcing them, which is what happened here. host: how do you compare the united states to a country like germany, where they've looked like they're coming out of this recession ok, but they haven't
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-- they rely heavily on exports. they're not importing a lot. their consumers are not buying a lot, which many say is not an economic -- you can't keep doing that, and that they also -- they have a steer measures, austerity measures that they've put in place, but you can't compare germany to the united states because germany didn't have a housing bubble. and so perhaps it is our economic times. guest: well, again, i agree with you. every country is different. but it's not just germany. you can run down the list. and there's information about this in our book, which 30 years ago -- well, some people say the u.s. has just always had more inequality. we've always been more tolerant of that. but 30 years ago, if you looked at the share of income going to the top 1%, the u.s. was pretty normal. it actually wasn't very dvent than it was in sweden, which is a country we think of as being very different. it's only in the united states
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that you've seen such skyrocketing, though there are some other countries, most of them being countries that are also sort of more strongly -- push more strongly in a market direction, like the united kingdom. but even there, the change hasn't been nearly as dramatic as it has been in the united states. so that makes me think -- i mean, it could be. you know, we start by saying it could be something about the economy. but at least it makes you start to wonder whether there aren't important other things going on. it's not just a natural thing. caller: one of the top leaders in the -- host: one of the top leaders in the house writs a piece in "the wall street journal" this morning saying the g.o.p. won't back down on the issue of extending the bush tax cuts. he writes this, the first concern is the pain that the tax increases threaten to inflict on our economy over the short term. the second is to stop the slide under our current leadership towards becoming a stagnant european-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship. let's begin with our immediate economic struggles. the glacial pace of private
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sector job creation is a function of many factors, including irresponsible economic policies imposed by washington. guest: well, it's interesting to hear a leading republican talk about irresponsible economic policies. people need to remember a little bit of historical context here. when these huge tax cuts, very much geared toward people at the top, were passed back in 2001, the reason that they were made temporary, the reason why they're currently scheduled to expire, is because even at a time of budget surpluses, they couldn't convince enough senators that these were affordable. so now at a time of huge deficits, when republicans especially are saying, we can't afford to do anything, we can't afford to spend any money for people who are really hurting in the economy, they want to spend $750 billion on tax cuts to people at the top when the congressional budget office says this is the least
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effective option available to us in dealing with the immediate economic problems that we face. i mean, it's outrageous. host: ok. let's go to prairie grove, arkansas. richard, independent line. caller: hello. good morning, greta. love c-span. i wish people would quick complaining about you on the show. you do a fine job. host: thanks. caller: to my question and comment. when was the last time you ever saw a leaf stop in midair, grow a limb, grow a trunk, and grow roots into the ground? it doesn't happen. trickle down is the same concept. stimulating small business is just another form of trickle down. if you want that tree to grow, you stimulate the roots. host: ok. by way of taking that phone call and asking you, what are your solutions toward the income inequality gap? guest: well, the first part of the solution, we think, is people have to understand that this is a political story. it's not just an economic
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story. those people who say, hey, this is just technology, it's just the way the world has changed, it's a global economy, maybe we can do a little bit to help the middle class, that it's pretty much just the way things are, we believe that argument is fundamentally wrong, and that's an argument that leads to despair. there's nothing that can be done about it. we think that there is a lot of evidence in both the history of this country and in the experience of other countries to suggest that that's not the case. and because it's a political, we think, at its core, it's a political problem, that the solutions have to be political solutions as well. we have to do more to create opportunities for there to be an organized voice for middle class, working class, economic concerns within washington. host: does that mean unions? guest: i think unions are a significant part of that. polls show that even though unions get bad press in many
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circles in the united states, polls show that there are more americans in recent years who have wanted to join unions than at any time in the last 30 years, most of them are not able to because the rules are so stacked against efforts to form unions. powerful forces in washington are dedicated to making sure that that doesn't change. so there needs to be a significant pushback in washington. the obstructionism that has developed in washington -- really, in the book we explore how this has been an increasing story over the last 20 years or so, it didn't used to be the case that you needed 60 votes to pass everything in the senate. that is a new development, and it basically makes it almost impossible for washington to respond to these kinds of economic problems. and people need to focus on producing those kind of political reforms. host: lexington, kentucky. joe on the republican line, thanks for waiting. caller: hello, mr. pierson. i loved your book. i just want to know something.
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are you gay? host: we'll move on to redding, pennsylvania. democratic line, good morning. guest: good morning. how are you? thank you for c-span. i've watched for years. i want to thank mr. pierson for his calm explanation, common sense explanation about our situation here. i've had several jobs over my life. primarily i'm an artist, but i've had to work other jobs. i've done factory. those jobs are in china now. i was an artist, designer for a company. those jobs were sent to china. i just don't understand -- i guess with the sales of those jobs and the businesses, the rich have gotten richer, and the middle class, we were able to earn a decent living there, and now that's gone. i think that's the main problem with our economy right now.
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i also was a realtor for a while. we never gave out bad loans back in the day. you know, we had to really check out what people earned and see their w-2 forms. but i just wanted to thank you for your common-sense explanation about the difference between the lower class and now we have so much poverty. i'm part of it. and the higher classes, they don't produce small business jobs. host: mr. pierson, you want to add anything to that? guest: well, i appreciate the comments. i guess the one thing i would add is that often when we talk about inequality, we focus on the gap between the rich and the poor, and it was just announced the other day that there are more people living in poverty in the united states than at any time in the last 25 or 30 years. but i also want to keep drawing our attention back to the middle class, that it's not just that the rungs on the lad very spread out, it's the top one or two rungs have really
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skyrocketed off into the stratosphere away from everybody else. and at a time when not just the poor, but the broad middle class has seen almost no improvement in their economic position, not just during the terrible recession and the financial crisis that we've been dealing with, but over a much longer period of time. host: alton bay, new hampshire. jeff, independent line. caller: good morning. host: good morning, jeff. caller: hi. i'm just calling about the fact that the minimum wage has been what it has been for so long and that the true core belief of republicanism are to keep wages low so that the worker has always kept -- so that the worker is always kept over a barrel, insecure, and really never feeling as he has total control over his life. i just think it's part of the philosophy of keeping people
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insecure so that they are susceptible to fear and other concepts that are thren out there, just to keep people's minds off the fact that they are so poor. host: mr. pierson? guest: well, i'm his tant to try to read the minds of people who have other political views and figure out exactly where they're coming from. so i think that most people who have been advocating deregulation and big tax cuts, they genuinely believe that those things will be good for economic performance. i don't think the evidence supports it. i think the economic record of the bush administration, where this idea was applied most aggressively and led to really stagnant income growth for the middle class even before the
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terrible economic problems started in 2007, 2008, is a pretty good indication of what the effect of that ideology is when people try to put it into practice. host: frederick, maryland. eric on the republican line. caller: yes, i'm all for allowing people to exercise their liberty and increase their wealth, but what i'm opposed to is the underlying current that i'm sensing is the concept of the so-called income inequality is to take money from other people and give it to people who don't have it, from one pocket to the other, to eliminate this alleged disparity. i am opposed to anything of that nature. and i think it's charitable for -- and i think it's terrible for our country. guest: well, one, i definitely hear where you're coming from.
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one quick correction. it's not an alleged disparity. i mean, the facts, i think, on what happened to income distribution are very dramatic changes that have taken place over the last 30 years. this is something new in american society. and i don't think there's any question from serious observers about whether this has happened or not. the idea that this is about us coming in and redistributing what other people have earned, i think it rests on a view -- traditional, kind of a fairy tale view of the way the economy works, and the idea that it somehow is this natural thing that exists outside of and before government and before politics. government has always been involved. the question is, how is it going to be involved? somebody has to set the rules for the road, just like when we go out on the highway. there's somebody there to try to make sure that people drive in ways that don't endanger other people, and that's been true for government, too.
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the problem is, the last 30 years, it's rewritten the rules of the road in such a way that overwhelmingly advantage the people at the top of the income distribution. you know, what happened on wall street and has led to devastation all across the country, even as walk street has returned to paying themselves huge bonuses while the rest of the country is suffering economically, that wasn't some natural pregovernment kind of development. it resulted from really surprisingly close collaboration between wall street and top people in washington in rewriting the rules of the road that allowed people to gamble on the financial industry and build up huge amounts of leverage that eventually devastated the economy. host: new york. ann on the democratic line. good morning, ann. caller: hi. thank you so much for having this guest on. i have been so outraged about
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the taxes, the republicans -- well, i'm really outraged because the congressmen, something like 31 democratic congressmen have written the president supporting boehner to keep the tax cuts in place for the very wealthy. and it's unbelievable to me that we don't have any support, even from the democrats in letting those taxes expire for these people. and i mean, i tried to call gary peters, who was representing the democratic side in this way, and if you call information, you can't even get congresspeople's numbers in washington. i don't do computers. my sister got his number online for me. but i am so outraged. i mean, i don't even know what to say. it seems to strikingly greedy of these people, and it shows
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that they don't even spend the money, so what difference does it make? host: paul pierson, in your book, you're not laying blame for this at the feet of the republicans. you're saying it's democrats as well. guest: well, yes. i think the caller is making a really important point. we don't -- we don't think the two parties are equally involved in this process. we do think that it's been republicans mostly leading the way. but a striking development that we see is really being at the heart of the mystery of how this has happened politically, how a democracy that is supposed to be responsive to the majority has instead become so responsive to people at the very top. we think a big part of that story does rest in the democratic party. and again, most democrats favor -- and the president, he's a democrat -- favor letting these high-end tax cuts expire. but as the caller mentions, the significant moornt do not. and understanding how that has come about, and we think that it has a significant amount to
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do with the shift in the distribution of money and organized power in american politics over the last 25 or 30 years. it tells you a lot about why that's happened. one of my favorites in the books, a reporter following rahm emanuel around when he was chair of the democratic national campaign committee, and he reportedly said, in the first 30 years of the campaign, it's money, money, money. in the second part of your money, it's campaign, campaign, and press. and in the third part of your campaign, it's money, voters, and press. and so if you're keeping count, that's six moneys and one voter. and i think that's an indication of how the political business has changed in washington, and it's had a huge effect. host: what do you think about rahm emanuel and his influence over the administration? mr. ratner, the car czar, out with a new book about his experience. and in that book, he quotes
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rahm emanuel, dissing the u.a.w., using an expletive to do so. guest: well, i don't have any firsthand experience of this, but my sense is that, you know, the use of expletives is pretty common in his discourse for all parties, so i don't know whether he was singling out the u.a.w. for that. i do not think that if we're looking at this as a long-term problem -- and again, as i point out in the book, it's a 30-year story. it's not a two-year story. the obama administration would not be at the top of my list of people who we should go looking for, looking at as having failed to deal with this problem. i think that they've been trying to deal with this problem. they have a huge challenge getting legislation that can gain 60 votes through congress, especially in the context where the filibuster is used for everything and where the republican party has moved so much, so far to the right on
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economic issues. host: a tweet from a viewer says the top dogs now make over 600 times what the average worker makes and the average person's wages are going down. this person says thank obama. guest: well, i think i just spoke to that. again, i think the obama administration, certainly their tax policies, the healthcare bill, financial regulation, i think even if incomplete, very important piece of financial regulation. i think they're trying to do some modest efforts to put a little bit more economics and balances in the system that govern c.e.o. pay. i just think that it's an example of understandable anger, but misplaced anger to point at the obama administration when we talk about these kinds of trends. host: ok, let's go to the i understand pen line. steve in -- independent line. steve in ohio, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you, mr. pierson, for your candid, truthful, and
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correct -- host: ok, steve. caller: analysis of what the problem is. we need solutions, though. we really do. i mean, you probably described everything, including the oligarchy, because that's what we really have. the republic is just about gone. but we got to fix it. the only way to fix it is the wall in the middle class. make business responsible or the big guys responsible for the poor end, the guys that are getting left out. tell the union, either represent the poor or go find something else to do and quit trying to take over everything. host: steve, do you put some of the blame at the feet of the union? caller: absolutely. host: how so? why? caller: because they're like mafia. they go -- in michigan right now, one of the news stories is they went in and took over the foster child care providers, group homes. they're taking them over. they didn't even ask if they wanted to join, they took over the union because the governor
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signed some act. i mean, what do you call it? that's a mafia. host: ok. did you look at the history of the union and why it has -- why its influence has declined over the years? is the union partly to blame for that? guest: unions back in the 1950's and 1960's, which, again, wealth was shared much more evenly, and again, this was not some socialist -- you know, this was not cuba. it was an era where there was inequality, but the rising tide was really raising everybody's incomes. the rich weren't pulling away from everybody else. and that was an era when there were a lot more unions in the country. the union rate was about 30%. now in the private sector, it's about 8%. and while we continue to think that the unions are really the only organized group that is fighting for middle class
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economic concerns, and on all the issues that i just talked about with the obama administration, it has been unions that have been leading the fight to try to push for serious financial reform, for healthcare reform that would control costs and get access to working class and people who are struggling economically. so i think, you know, unions would not be -- i don't think the problem is that unions are too strong in the united states. at the same time, as unions start to represent a smaller and smaller share of the workforce, they are going to be more inclined to put their energy into protecting the interest of that relatively small group. so having a more expansive union movement would be healthy for labor and for everyone else. host: richard hall tweets in, what about the disparity between union bosses and the workers they supposedly support? guest: well, i suppose, by
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disparity he means income disparity, and i'm sure many of them are extremely well compensated. that would be part of this broader trend, which has been to say, for people at the top of all organizations, we're going to pay them a lot more. and again, not only are we going to pay them a lot more, but we're going to tax them at a much lower rate on what they're being paid. so i think that is, you know, that's a fair point. host: leslie on the republican line in burlington, north carolina. go ahead. caller: hello. good morning. host: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: ok, first of all, everyone loves to say $700 billion of taxes that are going to be left in the hands of the people that are making the actual income over $250,000 a year. that's wonderful. will you please tell people that it's $300 billion -- well, $3 trillion for the 10 years, for the income tax cuts that bush put into place. see, at the time, democrats ran on the fact that, oh, those bad
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republicans only gave tax cuts to the rich. well, it's $3 trillion and $700 billion. host: talk about those two figures. guest: well, i guess i'm not quite sure what the caller's point is. if the point is that more of the tax cuts went to the bottom 98% of the population than went to the top 2% of the population, that's true. she's right about that. and i think most people -- i think most people -- certainly polls suggest that most americans think that that would be a proper way to distribute a tax cut. you know, one thing, again, if we're talking about the fight over extending the high-end tax cuts now, one thing that's quite revealing about the politics, some people might say, well, they're just pandering to voters. tax cuts are always popular. but the polls show that by very broad margins, americans do not support extending the top-end
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tax cuts. they want to extend the middle class tax cuts, but they don't want to extend the top-end tax cuts, because they think at a time when everyone is telling us that the going is tough and that we need to make some hard choices and we need to tighten belts, that those are the people who have gotten the lion's share of tax cuts over the previous 20 years and can most afford to contribute to balancing the budget. host: paul pierson, the book is "winner take all politics: how washington made the rich richer." you were next, we're going to take a look at retirement and healthcare issues with lawrence hunter, the president of a new group called the alliance for retirement prosperity. they want to be the conservative alternative to aarp. but first, this news update from c-span radio. >> it's 8:30 a.m. eastern time. an update this morning on delaware's republican senate candidate and reports over the weekend of her comments a decade ago about having dabbled
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in witchcraft. house republican mike pence, the number three man in the house republican leadership, speaking earlier on abc's "good morning america," says negative comments about christine o'donnell are part of preelection silly season and that any verdict on miss o'donnell's fitness to serve in the senate is "up to the voters of delaware." he added that the election is more about the message than the messenger. congressman pence won the presidential straw vote among social conserve tives over the weekend. transportation secretary ray lahood is kicking off a second summit on distracted driving tomorrow, this following a report on distracted driving that the transportation department announced earlier that over 5,000 people were killed in 2009 in crashes reported to have involved distracted driving. and intelligence officials say a suspected u.s. missile strike has killed six militants in northwest pakistan. the area targeted is dominated by islamist militant groups focused on attacking nato
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troops across the border in afghanistan. there have been at least 15 suspected u.s. missile strikes this month, the most since they began in 2004. and those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> the c-span video library is a great resource to see what's happening in washington. find the most recent events we've covered, the ones most watched, and most shared, all free. the c-span video library. watch what you want, when you want. >> if consumers don't trust us, if we do something to violate their trust, they won't come back. >> we continue a month-long look at privacy and telecommunications policy. tonight, with yahoo's anne toth on c-span2. >> "washington journal" continues. host: lawrence hunter is launching a new group called the alliance for retirement prosperity. the goal of the new group, repealing obama care and what you call obama care and
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preventing the rationing of healthcare reform and medicare and medicaid. let's just begin with this new healthcare law and its impact on medicare and talk about each of the different provisions and what you oppose about it. so if you look at how the healthcare law impacts medicare, it would increase medicare payroll tax on upper income americans. why do you oppose that idea? guest: it's not only the increase in the tax rates. in fact, it's primarily the two types of cuts, devastating cuts, that will appear on the program. first there's the direct cuts that are going to come out of the medicare advantage program. but even more important than that is, down the road, fairly quickly, there will be price controls and squeezing the reimbursement rates on doctors and hospitals. the medicare actuary estimates that once all of those are implemented, we're talking about a trillion dollars in cuts over the first decade and $5 trillion in cuts over the first two decades. host: the keyser foundation
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says that private medicare advantage plans will be reduced by $132 billion over 10 years. some healthcare medicare payments reduced by $40 billion by 2019. guest: well, that's strictly looking at the medicare advantage part. those are the direct payments. the larger result dab and that's part of what -- and the lamminger result -- and that's part of what is zrep active -- they don't understand how devastating the cuts are going to be in terms of the price controls. whenever the government tries to control price controls, rationing vols invariably. that's an employer val fact. that's what's going to happen here. and so if you take the totality of obama care, if it is implemented the way it is written, it will literally put old people out in the cold, and many of them into an early grave. host: why do you say that, because doctors and hospitals won't see these patients? guest: well, absolutely. we've already seen evidence of this in medicaid. medicaid is broken already. we've seen it in medicare.
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doctors are not taking as many new patients. they're going to, again, the actuary of medicare, and c.b.o., in fact, has estimated that they will cut reimbursement rates by some 30% in medicare over the next few years. you will just simply see a kind of passive resistance by providers. they wouldn't take on new patients. there will be long delays. there will be procedures that won't be delivered. and that's really the insidious way that this is going to devastate medicare. and it will affect seniors in ways that are just unimaginable. host: it says the hospital medicare payments would be cut by $22 billion by 2019. it would gradually cloles the medicare prescription drug coverage gap, the so-called doughnut hole. do you agree? guest: well, that is one of several what i call bread crumbs that the administration dropped in front of seniors to divert their attention, sort of a game of watch the brdee. on the one hand, they're giving them new benefits such as this to make an already
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unsustainable program even less sustainable. they give them free diagnostics. and what's that? that's intended to buy seniors in and to divert their attention from what's going on over here on the other hand, which are these devastating cuts for price controls and rationing. host: the other provision here, eliminate co-pays and deductibles for many preventive medicare services. guest: well, and again, one of the big problems in the entire healthcare system is that we have the system upside-down. we do not have the kinds of co-pays that give people an incentive to watch how they spend. and because it is a huge entitlement program -- that is the way the whole third-party system operates and what obama care will do is they will simply exacerbate those problems. far from leading to a reduction in costs. what it will lead to is upward pressure on costs, which will then be followed by government edict and rationing to try to get that under control. host: let's go to the first few
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provisions that we talked about, because you talked about medicare advantage, which is a plan that seniors can buy into to get more coverage. you talked about reducing medicare payments for doctors and hospitals and how you think that will negatively impact seniors' ability to have quality care. some people might listen to you and this idea that you're forming this group to be the conservative alternative to the aarp and say, you want to be a party -- aarp version for the wealthy. guest: well, in fact, we're exactly the opposite of aarp. let me just talk for a mnlt about the way aarp works and how aarp is going to benefit from obama care. what happened is aarp bought into the huge cuts, and they cut a deal basically with the white house. they would support the cuts, because the way the cuts will be implemented is, as you say, to cut medicare advantage. medicare advantage was an insurance product that about
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1/4 of all medicare patients are in now. they like it. but aarp didn't do very well. and all of the movement toward medicare advantage cut into their traditional market for medicare supplemental. and so what will happen is, under the guise of cost savings, it's the old story, the new government plan will drive out aarp's main competitor and create -- and contrary to what the president said, if you like your health plan, you can keep it. clearly that's not the case for seniors. and so there will be probably half of those currently in medicare advantage who will find themselves drven out of the program. and, of course, what they will do immediately is they will go back to some form of traditional medicare supplement. it's simply a way that aarp feathered its own corporate nest. host: what about responding to criticism that some might have of your new group? it looks like you're putting your message to wealthy americans who may tend to be more conservative. guest: absolutely not. in fact, if you look at the
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aarp model, what they do currently -- you have to understand the way the model works. they make enormous profits, by the way. they had sales and insurance products of $600 million last year. so it's a fortune 500 company, sort of disguised as a nonprofit, with a very cozy relationship that they got from the clinton administration. they got a special tax exemption from the i.r.s. they pay no income taxes at all, zero income taxes. and what they do is they go out and they'll find a single carrier or single vendor, and they will force that vendor to pay them huge endorsement fees, and then aarp will put the aarp stamp -- because they are a monopoly. that's really the reason we have this market. they will put the endorsement on, and they pad all of that into their price, and so it doesn't offer seniors a good teal. i'm going to get to your question. let me just get there. host: sure. guest: so what happens is seniors -- and one of the reasons seniors are so disaffected with aarp, they're wise to them now. they're tired of their
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hard-earned moneys being spent on their left agenda, but they're also sick and tired of seeing that they can get a better deal if they go out and look very hard. and what we're going to do is make it easier for them to find that deal. we're going to take the aarp monopoly pay to play, one size fits all endorsement for one product, we're going to turn it its head. we're building a real-time shopping model for seniors to come in. they won't have to simply take the one endorsement product. they can search and find the product that suits them best, and then our vendors will compete with each other for our members' business. and so -- host: if week go to your website, they would be able to -- guest: they can see that now. let me ask for indulgence. we have been so swamped and the response has been so gratifying, but on saturday, they literally broke our server, so many people were coming. so please be patient with us. we're trying to put our servers in the cloud that my technical people tell me is important,
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and we hope we will have that up. but back to your point about a program for the rich, we're conserve tives. we're going to promote a conservative philosophy as an alternative to the aarp liberal philosophy, and that means we believe in markets and bring market pressures to bear. host: you will have the business plan and the same tax incentives? guest: oh, absolutely not. not the same taxes. let me be very clear about this. we are a for profit business. this is the marvel of the market. aarp is for profit. they mack a very big profit. the difference is they don't pay taxes. we will pay taxes. and so after we earn whatever we manage to earn, our first obligation will be to pay the federal government and state government taxes. we will pay those taxes. now, we will fight like bulldogs to change that tax law, because we think that it's an abomination, no pun intended. i've been using that word for many years t. really is. so we're going to fight to change that and other laws that we think are not good for
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seniors. but in the meantime, we will pay taxes. and if we do this right, as all good for-profit businesses do, what will happen is, we will give our customers a better deal, the alliance will sell itself, because people will know they're getting wider choice, better products, lower prices, bigger discounts, and they will gladly pay a lower price for a better product. we will be able to pay our taxes and still have enough left over to pay our investors a pair return. that's the way the market rorks. host: let's get to phone calls here. we have a special line set aside for those 50 and older. that's 202-628-0184. first phone call, bethlehem, pennsylvania. steven on the line for those 50 and older. go ahead, steven. caller: good morning. my question to mr. hunter is this, there is so much going on with the healthcare systems and
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the competitiveness that you talk about has to be examined. i am a medicare advantage person myself at this moment and enjoy whatever i receive from the health benefits that i consider a reasonable cost. your point about advantage healthcare plans being sabotaged through a new healthcare bill is probably on the mark. host: we got to let you go there. the dog barking in the background is a little bit distracting. what do you hear? guest: well, i was waiting for the question. it sounded like he is satisfied with medicare advantage, and he realizes that he's going to be looking around for something new, probably a medicare supplemental that aarp offers. host: next phone call. wells, maine, joseph, independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning, mr. had notter. i have a question. i have a brother-in-law that's on the state of maine medicare. guest: yes, sir. caller: not medicare, but maine care they call it. guest: ok. caller: and he received a check from aarp for $600 and some
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directly to him. why didn't that go to the state or back to the federal government? guest: well, i wish i could answer that for you. i'm not an expert on the various -- certainly not the state-run systems. i will look into that. i'll have one of our experts look at that. but you say that he's getting a $600 check from the state. that's very interesting. i've never encountered that before. what you might want to do is go to our website,, we may be able to help include or call the telephone number on the website, and we have specialists that we can route you to. a apologize. i don't have the answer. host: your association plans to lobby congress. guest: absolutely. host: there is a piece in the paper this morning, several different headlines on this, that the g.o.p. aims to erode white house agenda. and the plan so far is for them to go at this bill, this law,
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on its fringes, not to have money for different programs to remove funding, lower financeding, etc. what do you make of that agenda? guest: well, members of congress have their own con streants and their own strategy. i spent many years on capitol hill, so i appreciate what they're doing. but we're not going to be subtle about this. we're going right at the program. we believe the program should be repealed. it must be repealed before it begins to take effect, because once it gets its tentacles into the system, it will be very, very difficult to dislodge. host: you don't think this is enough? guest: absolutely not. we need to repeal this. what we need to do is obama care is exactly when they did when mr. rostenkowski was still chairman of the ways and means committee and passed long-term healthcare back in the 1980's that seniors rose up and rebelled against. we need to send a very clear message to both parties that we don't want this law to go into effect. we need to repeal it. we need to go back and start from scratch. and by the way, i know there's a lot of talk by republicans
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about their slogan now is repeal and replace. the problem is they don't have anything to replace this with, and that's just fine with me, frankly, because the system as it exists has problems, but there was no you are general simple the administration jammed this thing down the american people's throat under a false sense of urgency. we need to repeal it. and then step back and figure out what you're next step is. we don't need to have some new social scheme coming out of the republican think tanks. that's the last thing we need. host: today in "the wall street journal," obama's tax healthcare law and election push, parts that have law go into effect this week, and kathleen sebelius, the h.h.s. secretary, sat down with c-span this past weekend for "news makers," talked with one of the reporters. janet quotes her in this story, if you want to see that full interview, go to our website, california, jeff, democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning.
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there's so many things that he said that i need to address, so i'll just try to keep it simple. as a conservative, or republican, it's always about the process. host: profits. caller: the profit. to start a business. now, people who have profit as their motive should be in the field of healthcare. host: ok. lawrence hunter? guest: that is the usual liberal complaint. first, i must set something straight. am a republican. i spent many years as a cog in the republican machinery. but the alliance is not republican. and if the gentleman would just check on my history, some of my worst critics are republicans, because i've given the republicans a hard time -- the republican party a hard time. so we are not partisan. we don't have a pact. we don't support candidates.
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and we will criticize whomever. host: it does sound like you want to be the conservative alternative to aarp, because they're liberal. guest: absolutely. but we do not believe conservative and republican are sin ominous, no more than we believe the word democrat and liberal are sin ominous. and what we're trying to do is i think the people of this country are beginning to rise up. it's a slow boil now. you're seeing it in a variety of different manifestations, the tea party being one of them. you can see when you read the paper, your viewers know this, the republican party has huge if she you'res within it. host: so was that part of the motivation here, you saw an opportunity, you're tapping into that anti-obama sentiment out there? guest: it's not only anti-obama, it's anti-government sentiment. it is this feeling that the system has gotten so overbearing that people want more freedom. they want more choice. they want more flexibility. and i spent -- and i'm going to get back to your viewer's
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question. i'm not going to forget that. but before that, i want to go -- i spent almost a year out on the road during the obama care debate. i was going to small towns across the country i did not even know existed. and what i saw is i saw people turning out at events, town hall events, rallies that were being put on where i was speaking, and people know something is wrong. and they're rebeling against it as americans always do. and one of the things i heard over and over and over again was that aarp is nothing but an extension of the white house. it's nothing but an extension of the democratic party. and people kept asking me, isn't there an alternative to aarp? and, unfortunately, at that time, i had to say no, it's a monopoly. there have been efforts over the years to try to provide an alternative. but the reason in the past it never worked is precisely because lack of a profit motive, ok? aarp pretends to be nonprofit.
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it has a huge profit. the conservative movement has always tried to fight that with nonprofits. we decided, we're going to do this the old-fashioned way. we believe in markets. profit motive is what gives entrepreneurs and investors the incentive to go out and create something, and it's then the competition for profits that gives customers good deals, better choice, good profits. host: so the alliance for retirement prosperity, you launched last week. you have a $5 million budget. as many as three million age 15 and over are invited to join. 20 strategists, ability to lobby congress, and you have an annual fee of $16. let me talk about your $5 million budget. where did you get the money forethat? guest: yeah, this is interesting. it's like the game of telephone that your kids play. the $5 million figure is the amount of money it took to put this thing together and get it launched. we don't know how much money we're going to need to market the thing, but one thing we've recognized is the response has
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been so great that we will be able to raise whatever money, if we have to go back out for a second capital raise, we know we will be able to raise enough money to do the marketing that we need. because it's now very, very clear to us, as i said earlier, the alliance will sell itself. so the question is, how much money do we need to get the word out? it's very spnssive, as you know, to get the word out, and so it's a question -- the $5 million was spent building -- we've been at this for a year. it's been spent building the infrastructure. it's a very complicated arrangement to give people the ability to join an organization , to be able to shop all lines of insurance in real time, to be able to track discounts. this is another big difference. not only do we offer discounts on big national brands, more, by the way, than aarp does, but we also have a discouldn't program that allows you to go in, put in your zip code, and find out what local merchants are offering discounts. host: who are your investors? you went around, you got some
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capital. guest: we did it the old-fashioned way. we went out and did a private placement offering, and i'm proud to say our investors are small business people who, leak us, tend to be conservative, and they're tired of the direction the country has been going in. and for them, it's an investment because they believe they will get a fair return. but they also understand they will get a much larger return than just their financial return. we will finally bill something to compete with the unions and aarp on the conservative side. host: so if people went to wethealliance dodd tot, would they find a list of your investors? guest: just like apple, i.b.m., our offering is regulated by the s.e.c. we have privacy issues -- i'm proud to say i'm an investor. you go to the website, you will be able to see the management and their investors. but we don't disclose the name of our private -- but i can tell you you wouldn't recognize the names anyway. you know, they're not the big names.
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they're small business people, and we're very proud to have them. host: back to phone calls. west chester, new york. matt, republican line. thanks for waiting. matt? host: hi, good morning. my mother is on advantage, and she has chemotherapy right now. she's just barely making it. she's a retired nurse. she's not wealthy. but i want to know, how is she supposed to pay the bills if under obama care they're really cutting her advantage, and i'm a middle class guy, too. i want to know, the aarp says we don't have to worry about this. if they do immigration reform, do we have to foot the bill for people that are giving amnesty under part of the obama administration's plan? host: i think he's talking about the healthcare bill. guest: yes. it's not clear to me yet what kind of immigration changes may occur, but we can make some educated guesses based upon what we know is going to happen from the plan. one of the things that has so disturbed me about the plan is they're going to expand, i
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think by $25 million, my number could be wrong, but a very large number, the number of young people they're going to bring into medicaid. and so what that's going to do is it's going to -- and that's the reason they've cut medicare as much because they want to pay for this influx of younger people to medicaid by cutting medicare. now, back to your point. if some kind of new immigration plan does happen to open the doors to more individuals than currently would happen, my guess is they would come in through medicaid and they would put that program under even more stress, and so the cuts to medicare would be even greater. that's the dynamic they've set up. host: akron, ohio. jim on the line for those 50 and older. go ahead, jim. caller: yes. i'm over 50, so i remember the time when we didn't have medicare at all, and medicare has been a wonderful program for our seniors. early also that people like yourself saw that big pot of money out there and wanted a
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cut, and so you came up with this private insurance medicare advantage thing. but to get people enrolled in that, they said to get the insurance companies interested, they got to have 115% of the cost of what was normally paid for medicare. and so that enticed the insurance companies, which could do a much better job at lower cost and still were paying 115% of the rate for a standard medicare patient to this insurance company so people like you can get rich. and also, you're just a straw man for the republican party, because once the elections are over, i imagine this little alliance program disappears. host: mr. hunter? guest: well, so much to address there. let me go back and say i'm not a prison man for the republican party. some of my biggest critics happen to be republicans. we are nonpartisan. we don't -- we will not have a p.a.c. we don't support candidates. we are equal opportunity critics.
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your viewer sounded pretty informed. it sounded like he was probably reading off a list of talking points. all i can say about medicare advantage is it's very popular and people have voted with their feet. as i say, a quarter of medicare recipients are currently in it. it's a very popular program. it seemed to be working quite well. now, let me just say something about medicare. i know it's popular today to cast personal aspirations on people and question their motivation. the alliance believes that medicare and all the entitlement programs are unsustainable as they're currently configured. but people have worked their whole lives believing that those programs are going to be there for them. they have paid taxes on the basis of, i'll pay taxes today to provide for today's seniors, if, when i retire, somebody else pays taxes to pay for me. and so these programs are
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unsustainable. they're broken. they need to be fixed. and one of the things we are going to work very hard to do is to fix those programs. but you don't fix the programs by taking a hatchet to them. and it's ironic that -- this president, i must say, is a master at watch the birdie. and he attacks, attacks, attacks with the same accusations that he is doing, on the other hand. so he accuses -- and harry reid, for example, accused the republicans of wanting to gut medicare. well, they've already gutted medicare and obama care. i don't say that because harry reid is a democrat. i say that because they're simply making untrue statements, all the while they're over here trying to cut medicare. so these programs, we will fight to the bitter end to prevent any political party from cutting these programs out from under current retirees and baby boomers who are soon to retear. but we will work at the same time to reform these programs
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for younger people, because tomorrow's retirees will have nothing to turn to. they will pay taxes their whole life. these programs will collapse. host: does that include raising the age for social security? guest: absolutely not. that's a great idea if you're a bureaucrat i can pencil pusher white house never worked a hard day of labor in their lives. i'm afraid you're going to see the obama debt commission come with this idea. there again, all the while saying republicans are going to destroy social security while they're talking about shoving the retirement age up above 70. many people, by the time they have worked on construction sites and factory jobs their whole lives, are ready to retire by 65. but this brings up another very important point. if you think about it, any grand social program that dictates a single year for retirement, you know it's one size fits all. why should the federal government determine when it's time for somebody to retire?
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part of the reforms of social security and medicare should be to embed the mechanism of choice. give people the choice. let them decide when they're going to retire, and make the program such that it is not a handout. it's a program whereby, throughout their entire working career, they can prefinanced their own retoorment, and so they can decide when it's time to retire. host: david in indiana. independent line. go ahead. caller: hi. can you hear me? host: we can. you're on the air. caller: great. this guy is good on his feet. i got to say, i'm not speaking with any talking points here, but i am a union member for 33 years. i'm not sure what world that you live in, but in my world, in 1998, we would pay just about $300 for really good health insurance. in your statement that there is nothing that needs to be done with the healthcare system is just wrong, because today, a
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retiree is going to pay just under $1,400 for that. i would say that's a rather large increase. so my question -- that's just a comment. my question is real simple. i want to know what my subsidy as an american taxpayer is today for every medicare advantage person that's signed on to that program. guest: before i go to that specific question, let me just say that i did not say -- and if your viewers interpreted what i said was we don't need to do something about the healthcare system, that's just flat out wrong. something is wrong, and i'm going to go in a minute to what we believe is wrong. what i said is there's no urgency. the system is not ready to collapse. it's important. we need to address it. .
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guest: the primary reason for that is that over the years government has become more and more involved in health care. they have become more involved in regulating. state legislators, have become more involved. one of the big drivers in insurance are all the mandates that states have put on
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insurance policies. now we are seeing it down on the federal level. it will drop -- drive insurance levels even higher. do you want a high deductible? do you want catastrophic coverage? give people a choice. that is what people are clamoring for. they want choice. host: kristie on the democratic line in florida, good morning. caller: from a nurses perspective, i have worked in the medical environment and a lot of people have changed over to medicare advantage. what they're not telling people is they are getting out of their medicare for some cheap medicine, but once they have a stroke or something and, they are not paying for any kind of care for them afterwards. these advantage programs are not paying for them to go to any type of nursing home or we have center. -- rehab center.
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our problem is that too many of them are coming to it and nobody is asking doctors or nurses anymore. please, read your medicare advantage programs and see what is happening with them. guest: the talking points are following this morning. we could have a discussion on medicare advantage, but i'm not a guy to do it. i'm not an expert on that. we have experts on that. i want people to step back and ask the question, whose nest was smothered by obama care? clearly, aarp's was. clearly. what is it going to mean for me? will it give more joyce or less? less choice. but will it mean government
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control and rationing? yes. if we do not get those things under control, we will destroy the system that we have. one more thing, if i may. i have no doubt in my mind that the supporters of obama care -- who, by the way, did not get what they wanted. they got this bruce goldberg device that nobody likes. everybody knows that if this plan is implemented, it will collapse. early on, people will recognize that and they will be clamoring to fix it. and you can believe nancy's and company will be there -- will be right there with what? public option. it is failure by design. host: charles on the republican line. caller: mr. hunter, if you would
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just shut up and listen to the people. i am 93 years old. i have paid social security since 1935. i have worked all my life and in a good citizen, but i have people like you in washington who want to fix everything and i do not believe you know a thing of what you are doing. nobody should pay, in my opinion, in to the government because the government takes from you. they never save it. they never put it in pots. they never give you back what they take from you. host: lawrence hunter. guest: your viewer is angry with me, but i happen to agree with what he just said. the government cannot produce anything without first taking from somebody else. and once they take from somebody, they do a bad job with it. i'm not sure what it is time
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said that has made the caller angry, but i will say to him he has been around for a long time and he has got government's measure. host: do you like the medicare program? guest: i do not like the medicare program. let me be clear about that. the medicare program is what we have. it is reality. there are a lot of things that i do not like about reality and you cannot just wave a magic wand and change it. if we could change things in 1964 we come up with a better system. host: to you want to privatize? guest: you have to start with the young people. is the young people who are really going to suffer when the system collapses. we're going to -- we are hoping to find a way to allow them,
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rather than paying into a ponzi scheme as they are now, we will allow them to take that money and fund accounts of their own. they are pre funding so that when they retire they will have the ability to buy annuities, to buy insurance. there will always be safety net programs, but what we have now is a one-way system where the government grows and grows and every time it gets bigger it creates more problems and then it says, a cage, my goodness, -- it says oh, my goodness, we have more problems. we have to stop this. the we have to stop these government solutions to government-created problems. we have got to step back and say, what is the real problem, what is the government doing to create more problems. let's bring the market to bear. let's give people choice.
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but give people rights on the taxes that they are paying. as the caller said, if all the government does is take. let's let people to save some of their own money. host: our guest is lawrence hunter with the alliance for retirement funding, and they want to be an alternative to the aarp. you served on the staff of the joint economic committee, first as republican staff director and later as the chief economic adviser to the vice chairman from 1993 to 1997. if people are reading that, policy adviser to ronald reagan, what about that, says that you know and can start this group dealing with health care? guest: if it were only me, i
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would say, no. but what i've done over the past few years is recruited some of the best businessmen who know what they're doing. they know the insurance financial products. they are businessmen who have started businesses and they have sold them. they know annuities. we have the top notch accounting people. and we have one of the best, in my opinion, internet operations around. we have brought all of these people together. my job is not to be a smart guy, but to make sure that all of these pieces work together. as i was saying, we were just overwhelmed and some of my partners are beating the over the have for not being a little bit more forward-leading. but we are going to be alright. we will get ahead of the crowd and be able to service millions from their website. host: back to the phones, chicago, this is mary, go ahead.
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caller: i am retired and i have social security and medicare from the government and it works just fine for me. i think that if the government hadn't been involved a long time ago, people like this man, we would not have all the frauds that he is trying to perpetuate. he is in it for the money. he is not telling the truth. obama care would help a lot of people. host: mary, i think we have your point. let me add some specifics to what she is saying because there is a tweet from someone here. advantage across the extra, not the substance. where conservatives so dishonest about this? guest: if you go to the website,
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there is a lot of stuff about medicare advantage. i am not an expert. read with the actuary says. and the rat -- the medicare actuary says is going to decimate the program. look to the people who are going to be put out in the cold, contrary to what the president said. the president said if you like your health care you can keep it. not true, you will not be able to keep it. it is fascinating the anger and animosity by the people supporting the market. the market has made this country great. the profit motive that gives people the incentive to go out and invest their own money with working long hours with the risk of failure, i think is an indication of this almost poisonous dependency that has poisoned -- permeated our society today.
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this sense of entitlement that americans increasingly have that somehow they need to be sheltered from all manner of potential failure, all manner of danger. the world as a dangerous place. host: another tweak your -- what cost control, if any, do you want in the market? guest: when people have control, they will make better choices. they will consume less because whenever you subsidize something, you get more of it. and whenever you tax something, you get less. we are taxing the wrong things and subsidizing the wrong things. but again, i'm not going to convince your viewers who come to this with an innate distrust and an ideological position
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against free markets. i'm sorry it has become so pervasive, but i think it accounts for many problems that we're facing today. look at this. the obama administration has a keynesian policy of spending and spend. and it worked. now they want to print more money. now they want to raise taxes to get as part of this. as jack kemp used to say, if you really want to soak the ridge, cut their tax rates. i am an unabashed reagan night. host: tyler on the independent line in rockville, maryland. caller: for starters, i want to thank you for the forum in general. it is very brave for the interviewer and guest to stand in the trenches. and that being said, i do not want you to think that i am quoting a round in the chamber.
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i am 26 years old, so i have nine years left before you will see me running. that leaves me with 24 years before i have to worry about something. talking about the old social security thing, although i do not have specific names or dates that social security was taken out of earlier, i think it is a fundamental situation of a lot of people not been checked and balanced. if there is oversight on the ways to cut money on people and increase their cash flow, economically, that is what we are dealing with right now, locis float for the people that need cash flow. -- low cash flow for people that need cash flow. if you are still in business in years, i can call you up and look at your web site. guest: thank you very much.
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this gentleman represents the award that really stands to get hit hard by the failure of social security down the world. i do not know his particulars, but statistically, he can probably receive something between a 1% return and a negative return on social security. if we're going to do is cut benefits, which is what the president's debt commission is about to recommend, we will take a bad deal and make it so much worse. that is not the way to reform. we have got to figure our great way to reform these programs for younger people. host: frank on the line for 50 and older. go ahead, frank. caller: we discuss health care, but we do not discuss the problem it has created in the economy. you will not have medicare if you do not have jobs. and companies cannot bring jobs back to the united states because the cost of health care is breaking them.
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and unless you realize that it is a waste of time not to get health care off the back of industry. host: lawrence hunter. guest: let me first say, you're exactly right. it is sort of a model for us at the alliance that the only way, the best way to create retirement prosperity is to create general prosperity. if the economy is not thriving, nothing is going to work, whether it is saving and investing more these government programs. your reviewer is exactly right about that, but i must disagree that because of our economic problems is health care. health care is a dry, but because of our economic problems -- i mean, we started for eight years with the bush administration and now we are seeing it exacerbated with the obama administration. the government takes too much. that means it has to tax too much. and when the resistance to tax incomes, then it barrault's id.
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-- when the resistance to taxing comes, then it borrows it. what we've got to do is what we saw work in the kennedy administration. it worked in the reagan administration. it worked to some extent when bush cut tax rates. we need to cut tax rates. and i would combine that with an across-the-board reduction in the federal work force. the federal work force is turning into a gravy train. if the government would commit itself to reducing its size down to something reasonable, it would give people an incentive to invest and do all of these things that's so many people are now afraid of. they are afraid of risk taking. this economy is never one to come back unless people are willing to invest their dollars, go out and work hard and take entrepreneurial risk and get the economy going again. host: lawrence hunter, thank you
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very much for being here. coming up next, we will take a look at the groups that are spending millions of dollars for the 2010 campaign. >> the government says it will auction 52 million warrants it holds from the hartford financial services group tomorrow. it is the latest effort to recoup costs of the $700 billion financial bailout. a warrant gives the purchaser the right to buy common stock at a fixed price. the government to give the company over $300 billion in 2009 to help it survive the crisis. the fda is holding a hearing today to consider whether to improve genetically engineered salmon for human consumption. if approved, it would be the first genetically arm -- genetically moderatemodified and will for human consumption -- genetically modified animals for
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human consumption. critics worry of the health risks of eating fish containing course hormones. more on the war in afghanistan britain's military has handed response before helmand province in southern afghanistan over to u.s. troops. british forces have lost over 100 troops there fighting taliban insurgents since 2006. britain currently has 9500 troops in afghanistan. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> a friedgen on c-span3 experience american history tv starting saturday at 8:00 a.m. eastern. 40 hours of people and events telling the american story. visit museums, historical sites, and college campuses has taught history professors and leading historians delve into america's past. american history tv, all
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weekend, every weekend, on c- span3. >> the c-span video libraries a great resource to see what is happening in washington. find the most watched and most recent. watch what you want, when you want. >> if consumers do not trust us. if we do something to violate their trust, they will not come back. >> the communicators look at privacy and telecommunications policy tonight with your new's ann toth. >> "washington journal" continues. host: sheila krumholz joins us to talk about campaign raising in 2010. begin with a talking about by 27. guest: -- 527.
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guest: that refers to the cota " charities. five to seven groups -- 527 group are not supposed to be saying vote for or against this candidate, but they are supposed to educate people about a specific topic. host: so they can run and had about an issue, like health care, but they cannot mention a candidate's name. guest: right. their roles have changed dramatically with the ruling in the supreme court and other judicial rulings. there's a lot of confusion and there will be a lot of envelops pushing this cycle, i think. host: confusion comes from what is a 527 and what is a 5 01-c4.
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not report itseed na donors. it means that we are going to see a lot of money going toward our elections, trying to influence our elections, but we will not see who is bankrolling the effort. host: according to "time" magazine these groups were able to do that anyway. they were able to donate to a 501 c4 and they did not have to report it. guest: citizens united released unlimited contributions to these organizations and they can now spend that money on direct
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advocacy, independent expenditures on behalf of the candidates. as long as it is not coordinated with a candidate, they can't accept a million-dollar donation from a corporation and a turnaround and say it is adding for a candidate. host: "time" magazine says --
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guest: that is exactly true. and crossroads gps has pledged to raise and spend $52 million for this election. that is a huge amount of money to be addressed at elections, at influencing the public vote on election, and really, it is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that this is simply a good government information campaign. it is clearly money that is directed at us. host: there is also the action network, the american action network, which is run by former aenator norm kohlman and
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republican from minnesota as well. guest: american crossroads is one of the biggest stories outside these interest groups. also, the american cent -- the center for american progress is another such organization. a 501 (c)3 and 501(c)4 organization. they can spend their money kind of publicly, openly, showing who is going to -- giving them money, but if there is any problem were the donor is going to be under a microscope, they can have it go to their hidden harm, the 501(c)4 and spend that
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money -- raise that money again for the candidates. these are kind of exhibit a end of exhibit the for what is happening -- exhibit a" and exhibit "b" for raising money for these candidates. other organizations on the right are american family organization, move on, some we have heard of. we have the unions and the unions themselves have said our spending will not match the spending that is already been pledged on the right. but a lot of the other organizations that are organizing are also union
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funded. i think there is a more limited amount of money on the left then there is on the right. host: and in the "time" article it says that labor is set to put about $150 million of their own money into the fall elections. other groups such as emily's list and the league of voters will kick in even more. you have seen groups like form a 501(c)4, so they can do some of the same efforts that republicans do. guest: right they have 501(c)4 and american crossroads has a 527 and a 501(c)4. it is considered to be like a
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super pak. it is so designed for expenditures on individual candidates, but independent of their campaign. here they have one of each. it is kind of a collect them all the election cycle. they're being sent abroad in as many ways as they need to to achieve their goals. host: take a call. palin on the democratic line, good morning. caller: my question is concerning the supreme court ruling and one man, 1 vote. as an individual i can vote and also as a member of a union i can vote. is that true? guest: i think the reference here is that corporations have been given the same first amendment rights as individuals. you has an individual can go vote for the candidates of your choice, but if you are a business owner, you can then use
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that vehicle to raise and spend money independently of the candidates in a very influential way. if you have the resources view can muster -- if you have the resources, you can muster hundreds of millions of dollars and make a huge impact. caller: money to buy votes? >> no, but essentially, that is what they are being accused of, or those who have been supporting the citizens united decision -- rather, those against that decision have said this is allowing those with more money to, in effect, buy more votes, influence for the candidate of their choice. money is outweighing the free speech of ordinary citizens. host: let's take a look at some of these issue advocacy ads that these groups are putting together. first the one against senate
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majority leader harry reid. >>, harry reid says no one can do more than he can. really, harry? >> only 26,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good. >> really, harry? no wonder nevada has the highest unemployment in the nation. deficits, obama care -- no one can do more. really, harry? for nevadans haven't you done enough? host: that was an ad put out there by a group called american crossroads. on the left, has also put out ads against a candidate in new hampshire. >> they say you can't judge a candidate -- you can judge a candidate bradley co., a keeper. tax breaks for the wealthy,
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denying americans better health care, and cutting jobs for teachers and first responders all to benefit their millionaire friends on wall street. if kelly aot is on their side, and you think she would be on yours? host: and what type of groups are these that have put these together? is that the 527 or the 501(c)4? guest: either one can run these ads as long as they are not saying vote for or against. that is why they are thinly veiled electioneering. everyone on the kerridge is going to understand either for -- ever won on the couch is going to understand these are directed the therefore against. host: is it just because they did not say the words?
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guest: it goes beyond to savsay that if it goes in support or against the candidates issues it is deemed in support or against. but the gates are wide open. these organizations can achieve -- can raise and spend money and achieve much the same goal and there will not be much better to police them -- much effort to police them because it is clear that the supreme court has ruled in their favor and they can spend the money as they see fit. host: republican in georgia, good morning. caller: i would like to ask how come it was ok for the obama administration to use corporations to raise millions of money -- millions of dollars
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monthly when he was running and there was no push back for that? i mean, all these global warming donations coming in from different corporations, how come that was ok? but now that the republicans are running, all the push back is about corporations coming in at, barney in money -- bringing in money. there were billions of dollars spent to get obama have elected. host: are you critical of how much money was spent on the candidates in the election? guest: and we do not actually take a position. there was a lot of criticism for the left rejecting the campaign finance money and pursuing hundreds of millions of dollars over and above what the mccain campaign could spend because he mccain did accept the pope --
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that partial public financing. there was a lot of concern about the three-quarters of a billion dollars spent by the obama campaign that was spent in the last cycle and, in a way, that did undercut his credibility host: virginia beach, mark, independent line. caller: i am starting to get involved in politics and things like that i am finding it hard to comprehend because you're saying you cannot talk reveal private investments that you are getting of millions and millions of dollars, but again, you owe so much money and [unintelligible] and the federal government goes
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and punishes because they've made their money probably and kept it to themselves. where are you getting all of this money from? host: michael, we've got your point. let me show the viewers the headline in "usa today." ehab line is that mid debt -- midterm campaign war chests are crammed. guest: we were looking at a billion dollars election cycle back in march and that was kind of a trajectory of spending in the elections of a last several cycles, not taking into account the fact that the recent decision could unleash a far more money in the election cycle. we were looking at a baseline
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spending, which would still be 30% above the previous midterm with the success by the candidates and these interest groups. i think the press will be far higher. -- the costs will be far higher. i think it was $8.5 million for a winning senate seat. your average american does not have access to the kind of wealth. host: and you are on track for this cycle to cost 30% more than in 2008 and you can reasonably predict that the house and senate seats will go up 30%? guest: the senate on depends on which raises are up. we only have one third of the
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seat coming up in any election cycle. it would depend on where they have big media markets. of course, there is california, sort of think that would have a big impact. host: next call from texas. caller: i am a 74-year-old man and this is the first time i have done any of this. who isn't watching the lobbying efforts toward our supreme court judges -- who is watching the lobbying efforts toward our supreme court justices? guest: there is lobbying at the federal level, but there is none reported for the supreme court. of course -- host: they do not have to run for term. they are appointed for life. guest: i'm sure there are a
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advocates hoping to impress supreme court justices, but we do not have any way to track lobbying efforts for the supreme court. host: stan diego, good morning. cut -- san diego, good morning. caller: i am a 62-year-old veteran and i'm very happy about these young people who are getting involved. to the 18-year-old who called earlier, i would say, keep at it, young fellow and remember, the bigger government gets, the fewer rights you have. thank you, c-span. host: but go on to lincoln, nebraska. lincoln, neb., you're on the air. caller: guess, i have a question for --
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i have a question for -- host: we are born to put you on hold so you can clear that up. -- going to put you on hold so you can clear that up. remember to turn your tv down. washington d.c., good morning. caller: my concern is of of money -- new york, good morning. caller: my concern is aipac being treated as a human being. -- a pac being treated as a human being. how do we get corporations to not be treated as a human being. corporations do not have a finite life span expectancy.
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the cubans do. over the long term, they can save -- humans do. over the long term, they can say what they want and what can stop them? guest: i think that is a good point. the balance that this decision gave individual americans and corporate entities is, i think, one of the most controversial and, for many, a very troubling decision. this is going to be the thought in legislative proposals to try to balance what this decision has done for years to come. unfortunately from our perspective, we cannot do what we do, researching the money behind politics with our? texting -- without accessing that information. an incredibly troubling aspect of this is the and our ability
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of these organizations to raise money in secret and spending it with our anyone really knowing who the interests are behind these ads and expenditures. host: in georgia, cindy, independent line, good morning. caller: i have been curious about this question, and maybe that followed just asked a question. host: go ahead. the we can hear you. caller: i have gotten the impression that once the supreme court ruled on citizens united that it would be up to congress to refine that decision, to change it to be more equitable. what kind of progress -- is that true? and are there any groups that are supporting that effort in congress? because i think that is the only way we will be able to turn that off. guest: the caller is perhaps
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referencing the disclose act, which was legislation proposed by the democratic leadership. there were many facets to the legislation. there are still proponents pushing for it, but nothing is going to happen in time for these elections. i think the 2012 elections will be the next target to put in -- to create legislative change. and again, one of the major pieces of the legislation was to create disclosure of these outside interest groups, to know where the money was coming from. that was one aspect that the supreme court said we have got covered, we have got fixed, and we have great disclosure now. that is a combination of the work by the federal election commission. hundreds of millions of dollars may be pouring in and we have no
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idea where it is coming from. host: a tweet comes in -- guest: that is interesting because there is an inherent conflict between the members of congress writing these laws and making them such that they are not benefiting the incumbents themselves, and creating an solidifying an incumbent's advantage. it is really of to was to hold barack -- to hold cowart incumbents accountable. -- to hold our incumbents accountable. host: ohio, go ahead. caller: is there a resource that we can take advantage of that would give as a nonpartisan comprehensive list? i know they say that these donations are secret, but is there a place we can go to that
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would give as a comprehensive list of who is donating money? guest: that is what our organization is trying to do. we are at an we are trying to track or the money is coming from and going to in the federal elections. you can see that all of the money going into the candidate'' coffers and party committees, categorized by industry and interest group and standardized by organizations so that you can see who the major organizations are that are bankrolling campaigns. but we are also tracking independent expenditures. you can see which organizations like crossroads gps, like others, are spending. in some cases, tens of millions of dollars, and all told, hundreds of millions of dollars.
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the kinds of money and that you can see on our side barack 527 -- on our website are 527 groups, and independent organizations, these new super acs.p host: and those are 501(c)4? guest: no, they report to the commission instead of the irs. but they can raise unlimited funds from unregulated sources and spend it on behalf of the candidates. many of those ads will be very negative and coming in at the last minute we saw some of that kind of money flowing into the alaska senate race and the delaware senate race.
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very effective at dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars in just the last few days of the elections. host: a lot of the leadership on both the democratic and republican side have leadership political action committees. they funnel the money to one place and they can sort of pull it out to separate entities? kalisha pacs are kind of -- guest: right, the leadership pacs have money that is under their control and they use it in ways to free up -- it frees up more money that they can spend on their own election effort. but also, those who are supporting a more junior candidates who were struggling with their leadership pacs, they
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are pushing for a jump to higher office. host: if you go to the web site, on the lower bottom half of the website they have the campaign cost clock. you can see it taking away right now. host: let's go to a call from oklahoma. good morning. caller: my question is more of a personal question. what you think is a citizen and roll to make sure that -- what do you think is the citizen's role to make sure that they do not exceed the lead? guest: thank you for that question. we think it is an essential for people to get involved. unfortunately, there's a lot of discomfort with recent judicial decisions.
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is seen as secondary to all of this money coming in, but from our perspective, we see it as our job to hold them accountable at every level to the real constituents and not to the cash constituents instead. host: 8 week from a viewer's your -- -- a tweet from a viewer here. san francisco, go ahead. caller: people would call our founding fathers, even into the 19th century, and were very weak wary of corporations. i think part of that was having been under the thumb of british monopolies and hudson bay trading and all of that.
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they limited the corporate charters usually to about a 10- year life span and would only renew the charter is the corporation had, in the course of business, also contributed to the general welfare. i think that is something that we may have been losing in the last 50 or so years of what has pretty much become corporate america. guest: the caller makes an excellent point. there is a growing sense of clout and power, certainly in washington, but all levels of political life. at corporations, of course. unions have also held sway and those that are spending are often at the top of the political contributors cycle after cycle. all told, however, corporations
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far exceed contributions to candidates and parties and unions do. there is a huge gap in resources for corporations verses unions. and i think the cloud of corporations -- clout of corporations, to give the and this supreme court decision, is one of the concerns, particularly on the -- particularly the supreme court decisions is one of the concerns, particularly on the left in this election cycle host: another tweet from a viewer. national, judith, republican line. good morning. caller: i have a comment about the influence that unions have that necessarily their members do not agree with. i have several friends who are quite conservative and they find
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it extremely upsetting that they do not have a choice. in other words, the union's collective dues and then they support the liberal agendas and they have no say about it. having the corporations, having the ability to do the same just kind of levels the playing field. although, i just heard the last comment about the corporation's will have more clout. that is my comments. guest: corp. -- the corporations have resources that far exceed the unions. of course, there is the argument about individuals being forced to give the contribution. we have often heard comments, often anonymous, from people working at corporations that there was pressure for them to give or they were not going to get that rates or the bonus at
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the end of the year, or they were perhaps not going to keep their jobs. there is often the same pressure to give in a certain way. host: tony allen, you are on the air with sheila krumholz. caller: this new law, doesn't that open it for foreign governments to give money into our election, something we have fought against? and anytime someone from another country has donated they have raised all that gain, the democrats. but now all of this money is going to come from corporations we do not have control over? guest: that was a concern that a democrat put forward in this last few months and the caller is absolutely right. because we cannot know where
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the money is coming from for these 501(c)3 tax-exempt organizations, we cannot know whether it is coming from domestic sources. in our system of campaign finance, foreign corporations are unlimited. foreign entities can be influential, but they have to have operations in the united states. the money has to come from those u.s. plants and companies, the subsidiaries of foreign corporations. it is much more removed. but with the loophole currently in disclosure, we really cannot know whether money is coming from foreign entities and whether or not they may be foreign government controlled. host: are you seeing any like this that is happening, any hints of this leading up to november? guest: not recently, but we have
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in the past. there was a campaign finance scandal in the '90s were there were efforts and there were connections to a foreign government-backed organizations to try to influence our elections through campaign donations. there was an investigation of that and a lot of serious concerns and allegations were, in fact, founded. i think there is a real need for us to close this loophole so we can see where the money is coming from because otherwise, we can on know whether it is domestic or foreign. host: folks like charlie cook has said -- he does not think we are going to see corporations flooding this campaign cycle. they're hoarding their money right now and not spending it on anything he does not think corporations are going to pay -- play that much of an influence
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in campaign 2010. those democrats that view the democratic majority or vice versa as a threat, they may be jumping in, but he does not see the corporations as playing a big role. guest: i think he is referring to the idea that a major multinational corporations, maybe fortune 500 makacompanies, will not be spending a lot of money directly. did not want to risk offending their customers by taking a partisan side. on the other hand, where customers -- corporations have an interest in supporting one candidate versus another, particularly where they can contribute anonymously, i think there is concern that there could be sizable sums of money directed at a particular candidate.
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furthermore, those who have fought against the citizens united decision have made the point that all it takes for a corporate representative to go into an office of a member of congress could really dingell the threat of spending against that members should they not agree with their legislative agenda. i think the money is spent in directly at, giving money to those things, but also this threat of spending money against a candidate. host: david on the independent line. caller: can you hear me? host: we can. caller: i recently turned 40 and
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i have been listening to c-span for quite some time. i can't really remember how long and i love listening to it. thanks for that. but the types of reforms that we are talking about here, as far as how it really is not reform as i would define reform because it turns are to be typical government increased of regulation and more complicated laws. things just get more complicated and nothing really changes. and the whole process around specifically donations just get bigger and bigger. from what i can tell, we really should be doing is removing money as much as we can from the process of who gets elected. host: that brings up public financing. can you talk about that? guest: we are not a reform
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group, so we do not support any particular platform for financing, but that is one of the key solutions put forward by many organizations to remove all the private money from the process and to show a wave that is -- to bring money into the system to support candidates with good ideas in a way that is corrupting and also in a way that is not just candidates with wealth. the recent court decision in citizens united in particular is a fundamental change. and really, this reverses a decade, if not a century of precedent in proceed
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our elections are funded and wage. -- waged. it is a good idea and many do support public financing for this. from our perspective, we advocate to this -- to close that gap in disclosure. host: maryland on the republican line. caller: mrs. krumholz was talking about corporations and twisting the arms of their employees and the threat of being fired is not contributing to certain campaigns. i wonder she has more qualms with the unions for the fact that with the exception of the least 30% of union members are registered republicans, and registered republicans, and yet,


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